Fusion Academy Berkeley

Private School
operated by iEducation Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan
85 students
dwright [at] fusionacademy.com
(510) 384-2902
811 University Ave. Suite 100, Berkeley, CA 94710
Program Type:
Alternative school

Fusion Academy changes lives of students and their families through a personalized approach to education. Teachers first get to know their students and then teach to each individual’s strengths, interests, and learning style. Students can start at any time of the year and progress at a pace that works for them, whether accelerated or lengthened.

Students have access to over 250 middle and high school courses including a strong roster of electives like graphic design, recording arts, and computer programming. Schedules are customized to help each child find their success in school and beyond.

Middle and High School

Fusion is a private middle and high school where classes are one-to-one: one student and one teacher per classroom. This personalized environment allows our teachers to customize instruction for the academic needs of each student, and also act as a mentor for their social and emotional well-being.

Class for Credit

Classes for Credit are an option for middle school and high school students looking to improve their GPA, catch up on a missed course, or lighten their course load during the regular school year. Every class for credit is taught one-to-one in a private classroom and accepted as transferable units by most schools.

Tutoring and Mentoring

Some subjects don’t come easily and can become a barrier to moving forward – academically and emotionally. That’s why we offer tutoring across all required subject areas and for many electives as well. The Fusion approach to tutoring mirrors our teaching approach: always one-to-one.

Homework Café®

Between class sessions or at the end of the school day, homework happens in our Homework Café® – a relaxed and comfortable space where students can complete assignments with teacher assistance and meet quietly with other kids.

Parent Q&A

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  • We are looking to learn more about the two one-on-one-classroom schools in the area: Tilden Preparatory School and Fusion Academy. If anyone has investigated or has recent experience with either or both of them, we would love to hear from you. Anything that you consider relevant will be news to us!

    Thank you for your help.

    We looked at both and chose Fusion, where our son spent his junior year last year. He is now back at Berkeley High as a senior. We had a great experience and it was absolutely the right decision. I would say our kid didn’t love it, but he acknowledges that it was the right place for him at that time. Happy to chat in more detail! 

    I wanted to note that there is one more option - SIL, School for Independent Learners in Los Altos. Similar 1:1 instruction, full-time or dual enrollment, offers a-g subjects, well-versed in remote. https://sileducation.org/

    Our 7th grader is a full time student at Tilden Prep this year. He is dyslexic, so after spending elementary school years in Albany public school we signed him up for a school for dyslexic kids in Oakland for his 6th grade. He did not like that school, so before COVID SIP in March we thought he would go back to Albany Middle. Over past summer he took a couple of classes at Tilden prep to make up for the sixth grade content. He absolutely loved the personal attention and learned a lot. Tilden is doing remote learning this school year, but since it is just one-on-one he really got to know his teachers. It also helps that he is not stuck in front of the computer for the whole day. He takes 4 core classes: math, science, English and history, but has only two classes per day. (M, Wed, Fri - English & Math; Tues, Thursday- History & Science). The homework load is pretty heavy, but there is no busy work, so he does not complain. We proctor the tests ourselves, but there is an option to sign up for a study hall. Overall this year is the first when our teen is calm and engaged in learning. 

Parent Reviews

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Greetings.  You don't say why your kid is struggling in school, and that's important because some of these small schools do better with certain issues than others.  If you're kid is struggling because of dyslexia, for example, then Bayhill is going to be the best fit.  Orinda Academy can handle mild learning differences (LD) and ADHD, Holden gets kids with mild LD, ADHD and anxiety issues. These two are in Orinda, so not in your area, but they're just off the BART. If your kid is on the spectrum: Fusion, Tilden, Mentoring Academy.  Mentoring is pretty cool, the kids do international trips.   A lot of 2E and gifted kids end up at Maybeck.  These are the private schools that I know of. 

My kid is at Fusion and just the other day he told me that he thought Fusion was the right fit for him because it eliminated all distractions. This was a real milestone; for a while he hated it because it didn't have all the excitement of a big high school. Now he has friends and things to do outside of his academic life, so he (finally!) appreciates it for what it allows him to do.  Two years ago we didn't think he'd finish school. Now he gets As and Bs.  This isn't a pitch for Fusion, per se, just that for some kids the right environment is huge.  Also, there can be an overlap in what the schools can do, so for example there are spectrum kids or dyslexic kids at all of these schools.  Which one is best depends on what your kid needs.  Good luck!

My kid goes to Fusion Berkeley. It has been a very good experience for them and us. One advantage of Fusion over Tilden is that Tilden has lots of students and teachers in cubbies in the same room, so the room can get noisy. At Fusion, each teacher/student pair is in their own room, so there's quiet and privacy. (Also glass doors so not too much privacy!)

Here are some of the things that have worked for us:

1) The teachers pay attention to how my kid's brain works, and then teach that way. I don't need an IEP or any testing, they just try to figure out what works, and do more of that. One of my kid's teachers told a story throughout the entire semester that included all the physics she needed to teach. Another teacher provided scaffolding and incremental successes to keep my kid motivated to keep trying and moving forward.

2) There's a homework cafe on site, and the model has the kids take a class, then sit down to do the homework. In theory, the kids shouldn't bring home any homework at all, which makes evenings and weekends so much more relaxed! When we don't have to struggle to get our kid to focus on homework, we can enjoy them much more. Our kid has been known to procrastinate and not get homework done, and I really feel like the whole school is a team, working together to figure out how to help our kid focus and do their work.

3) Our kid gets overwhelmed easily, and hasn't been in a regular classroom since second grade. School demands can be too much, especially for a kid who is asynchronous in their development. My kid is autistic and adhd, struggles with sensory input, struggles with social cues, wants to give their perspective in all the subjects, and doesn't want to wait for others to have their say (or wait while the whole class gets organized, disciplined, etc). With the one-on-one model, these stresses are greatly reduced. My kid doesn't have to deal with crowds at passing period, or loud lunch rooms, or getting teased by people who think they're weird. The kids and teachers are accepting of differences, the campus is small, there's quiet spaces to work, and there's opportunities to be social when the kids are ready. I think that kids who are dysregulated by school can do very well in a place like Fusion.

I hope this helps!

My neurodivergent daughter attended Fusion in Berkeley and I am honestly so grateful that a school like this exists.  She thrived in the one on one format and was able to actually learn, which was the goal.  If not for Fusion, she would have dropped out of high school for sure.  I also toured Tilden prep and found that, for her, Fusion was the better fit because there was more support.  They have a scheduled "homework cafe" after each class and a teacher checks in on them to make sure they are on task and completing the homework.  She really needed that and would not have been able to complete the homework otherwise.  The teachers also send the parents an email each day with a summary of how the class went and what they learned.  I do think there may be more opportunity for social interaction at Tilden because it's bigger, but Fusion really worked well for our daughter and she did end up making friends.  

Our daughter with a math learning disability has done great at Fusion Academy Berkeley. We paid for tutoring sessions packets along with the class. The tutor sessions replace Homework Cafe and all her homework was completed. Better yet her math teacher was the tutor! So there was never a question of what was needed to complete. She could provide extra teaching as needed and only 1 person for me and my child to deal with. I highly recommend Fusion for math! 

Our child went to 9th and 10th grades at Berkeley High with a similar situation, with a 504 Plan. The teachers varied greatly, a few who were extremely responsive and helped with accommodations and support, some who would not respect them (one who said tutoring was not allowed outside of school!), and most somewhere in between. He floundered, couldn't keep up with homework, and then the pandemic hit, so we took him out. He's now at Berkeley Fusion, which is AWESOME for him.  He's doing great, but it's an extremely small school with all 1-on-1 classes, so it's really not a typical high school experience.  He's very sad about that, although he's made friends. 

Our other child has started at Maybeck, and it seems really great for kids with learning challenges of some types.  Also small (~30 per grade) but has typical classes that are very interactive and teachers are very focused on the whole child. 

Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to speak further about either school. 

My son is attending Fusion Academy. He began in early 2022. He is completing his 9th grade at Fusion. The school leadership, staff and teachers have all been awesome. They do a great job with their individualized instruction. The overall school environment is really nice and very welcoming. We also visited Tilden in Walnut Creek but selected Fusion for a number of reasons. Please feel free to contact me, and I can share more information. Send me a message through the BPN message system.

I have a child at Fusion Academy which is great during this pandemic because it is all 1:1 and on video when in person isn't possible.  It actually keeps my previously unengaged student totally engaged and doing homework independently for the first time ever.  I think they start in 6th grade, if you're still looking for next year. For this year, I might consider homeschooling with private tutors (some will come in person) for a kid like this. So many of these kids are just losing a year of their education (whether in private or public school). Many of them can't mentally engage over video or do the work independently and will really lose out, but they won't be alone.  For a real education during this pandemic, I think 1:1 is the way to go for many of these kids.

Not your question, but possibly another option:  my son has been taking a once a week mentor/tutoring session at Fusion Academy near 6th and University.  Actually, he's doing electric guitar for a 50 minute lesson once a week, is what it is.  Fusion is a really fun and welcoming place.  I don't know if this fits the bill for your son, but it would be a way to get a burst of acceptance and warmth in his week.  They also have "real" classes, which your son would not be the right age for, but maybe they would let him take a weekly music lesson.  Not inexpensive, but we look forward to going every week.  I think every positive interaction is a plus for my son.